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Greta Thunberg Arrested During Major Energy Conference Protest in London

Jaleel Mwangi



Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, accompanied by hundreds of demonstrators, disrupted the Energy Intelligence Forum in London on Tuesday, resulting in her detainment by the police. Thunberg was arrested outside the InterContinental London Park Lane hotel during the protest named “Oily Money Out”, organized by both Fossil Free London and Greenpeace.

According to a statement released on X, previously known as Twitter, by the Metropolitan Police, various arrests occurred outside a hotel on London’s Park Lane. While the police did not specify the names of those arrested, eyewitnesses informed CNN that Thunberg was among the detainees.

Protest Aim and Responses

  • The demonstration took place on the first day of the Energy Intelligence Forum, a significant three-day event featuring:
  1. Major oil and gas executives.
  2. Politicians.
  3. Civil society groups.
  • Notable speakers scheduled for the event included CEOs from Occidental Petroleum, Saudi Aramco, and Shell.

Nuri Syed Corser, an organizer with Fossil Free London, emphasized the need for direct action. In a statement, he proclaimed: “We need direct action to take back the power from the oil elite that has gathered here today behind closed doors. Their only plan is to profit at our expense.”

Thunberg’s Stand

Earlier in the day, Thunberg addressed the media outside the hotel, declaring the need for physical disruption of such conferences. “We have no other option but to put our bodies outside this conference and to physically disrupt and, we have to do that every time. We have to continue showing them that they are not going to get away with this.” Thunberg firmly stated that this was only the beginning of their fight.

The 20-year-old activist, known globally for her weekly vigils outside the Swedish Parliament, which she initiated by skipping school, mentioned her determination to confront and challenge the oil industry continually.

Protest Outcomes and Police Statement

  • Fossil Free London reported that 27 people were arrested with protests slated to continue until Thursday.
  • The Met Police imposed conditions on the protestors under Section 14 of the Public Order Act to avert severe disruptions. According to the police:
  1. Six were arrested for obstruction of the highway.
  2. Fourteen for violating Section 14 of the Public Order Act.
  3. One for criminal damage.

Big Oil and the Climate Crisis

Amnesty International recently criticized Big Oil for dialing back on its climate commitments after recording monumental annual profits, labeling these profits as “patently unjustifiable.”

Speaking at another energy conference in Abu Dhabi, CEOs from the world’s major energy corporations responded to climate criticism. Tengku Muhammad Taufik, CEO of Malaysia’s state energy firm Petronas, stated the energy sector’s need to prepare for decarbonized systems.

The burning of fossil fuels, including oil, gas, and coal, remains the leading cause of the climate crisis. A recent U.N. report confirmed the world’s deviation from the objectives of the 2015 Paris Agreement, emphasizing that the world needs to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Public and Global Reactions

The arrest of Greta Thunberg and other protestors quickly captured international attention. Social media platforms, especially on X, were flooded with messages of support for the activist and her fellow protestors. Many netizens praised their courage and commitment to the environment, with several hashtags related to the event trending worldwide.

Environmental organizations from various parts of the globe expressed their solidarity with Thunberg and Greenpeace. They emphasized the importance of such protests in raising awareness about the impending climate crisis and the role of major oil corporations in exacerbating the situation.

Consequences for the Energy Intelligence Forum

The Energy Intelligence Forum, previously known as the Oil and Money Conference, faced significant disruptions due to the protests. Several sessions were reportedly delayed, and some attendees, including top executives, faced challenges entering the venue.

Although the Forum had not responded to CNN’s request for comments during the initial phases of the protest, it later released a statement acknowledging the concerns of the protestors. The statement read, “We understand and respect the right to peaceful protest. We also believe in constructive dialogue and hope that all parties can come together to find sustainable solutions for our global energy needs.”

Thunberg’s Previous Protests

Greta Thunberg is no novice to police encounters owing to her climate protests. Earlier this year, she was detained during a coal mine protest and fined by a Swedish court for disobeying police during an oil tanker blockade in Sweden.

Greenpeace highlighted Thunberg’s recent efforts by pointing out that protestors blocked all hotel entrances from 8 a.m. and displayed a banner reading “Make Big Oil Pay.” In an earlier press conference, Thunberg criticized politicians for their alliance with oil industry lobbyists. The protest on Tuesday marks the beginning of a three-day action plan to shut down the conference, as per Greenpeace, which has been at the forefront of many environmental protests globally.

Jaleel is a sociable and communicative individual who effortlessly builds connections with others. With a strong belief in lending a helping hand, he is always ready to support those in need. Alongside his affinity for new technology, especially smartphones, Jaleel finds pleasure in exploring the latest advancements. When it comes to leisure, he cherishes vacations and finds joy in watching comedic films. With his friendly nature and diverse interests, Jaleel brings positive energy to every interaction and embraces life's enjoyable moments.